In this Feb 18, 2021 photo, a man reacts as he receives a swab sample from a medical worker as he goes through a drive-in testing center for COVID-19, organized by Washington medical center at millennium hall compound one of the biggest event center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (AMANUEL SILESHI / AFP)
MEXICO CITY / ABUJA / ACCRA / PARIS / BRUSSELS / LONDON / BERLIN / LUANDA / DAKAR / SANTIAGO / ADDIS ABABA / STOCKHOLM / OTTAWA / QUITO / RABAT / VILNIUS / LUSAKA / BUCHAREST / TIRANA / KYIV / MOSCOW / MADRID - The World Bank is preparing emergency financing to help about 30 African countries access COVID-19 vaccines, the global lender told Reuters, as the continent scrambles to secure doses and start immunising vulnerable groups.
Only a handful of African governments have launched mass vaccination campaigns, whereas some countries in wealthier parts of the world have already administered millions of doses.
Many rely on the World Health Organization’s vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX, which delivered its first doses last week with a shipment to Ghana.
The World Bank said financing projects were being prepared in African countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Niger, Mozambique, Tunisia, eSwatini, Rwanda and Senegal, without disclosing the amount of support under discussion.
Last month the World Bank approved financing of US$5 million from the International Development Association to provide Cape Verde with vaccines.
The number of coronavirus cases reported worldwide surpassed 114.7 million while the global death toll topped 2.54 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
This Jan 6, 2021, photo shows vials of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines after delivery to the Ambroise Pare Clinic in Paris, France. (NATHAN LAINE / BLOOMBERG)
The European Union is still months away from issuing COVID-19 immunity certificates, raising the risk of another lost tourism season for the bloc’s aviation and hospitality industries.
The European Commission is working on “establishing a trust framework and a digital infrastructure that would facilitate the authentication of” such documents, according to a briefing note circulated to national delegations in Brussels Tuesday. EU leaders were informed last week that “the technical work underpinning such a platform could require three to four months,” according to the memo, dated March 2.
EU member states are at loggerheads over the use of “status certificates,” which will be used to confirm that their holders have recently tested negative, fully vaccinated, or recovered from the coronavirus and are thus presumed to be immune. The bloc’s tourism-dependent economies have been pushing for the introduction of such digital passes that will allow a return to a semblance of normalcy, including travel, at least for a segment of the population.
The European Commission said on Tuesday that it was considering emergency approvals for COVID-19 vaccines as a faster alternative to more rigorous conditional marketing authorizations which have been used so far.
“We are ready to reflect with the member states on all possible avenues to indeed accelerate the approval of the vaccines,” an EU Commission spokesman said at a news conference after the matter was discussed earlier on Tuesday at a COVID-19 meeting with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
One option could be “an emergency authorization of vaccines at EU level with shared liability among member states”, the spokesman said, adding that work on this could start very quickly if EU governments supported the idea.
Norway has established a taskforce to investigate why 102 elderly people died after being vaccinated.
The deceased had an average age of 87, and many were already “ill and extremely frail,” the Norwegian Medicines Agency said on Tuesday.
Still, a more thorough review is needed as “it is impossible to rule out the possibility that common adverse reactions to vaccines, such as fever and nausea, may have aggravated the underlying conditions of extremely frail patients,” it said.
The expert group will provide an independent assessment of whether the deaths may have been connected to the vaccination program, which covered 40,000 care home residents in total.
The findings are due to be presented before Easter, the agency said.
Nigeria received its first COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday to kick off an inoculation programme in Africa’s most populous nation, delivered under the international COVAX scheme.
The West African nation of 200 million people took delivery of 3.92 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
The government aims to start by vaccinating frontline healthcare workers, the highest-priority recipients, in Abuja on March 5, followed by strategic leaders on March 8.
Mustapha said the government expected to receive 84 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine from COVAX this year, enough to inoculate 20 percent of the population.
Ghana launched its coronavirus vaccination drive on Tuesday with doses from the global COVAX vaccine-sharing program, which delivered shipments to other African countries as its vaccine rollout to developing nations accelerates.
People lined up outside the regional hospital in the capital, Accra, for a first phase of vaccinations which is prioritizing frontline health workers and others at high risk. Among those vaccinated on Tuesday were former President John Dramani Mahama and his wife, Lordina Mahama.
Ghana will soon record a dramatic drop in COVID-19 cases with the rollout of the vaccine drive, said Greater Accra Regional Director for Health Services Charity Sarpong.
The West African country aims to vaccinate 20 million people, or over 66 percent of its population, by the end of 2021, according to President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Drones from US-based startup Zipline delivered some of the vaccines to health facilities, making Ghana the first in the world to use the technology on a national scale to deliver COVID-19 shots, the company said.
Coronavirus infections in Ghana have surpassed 84,000 and more than 600 people have died, according to health ministry data.
Health department employees prepare for a mass testing of Radeberg residents in the gymnasium of the Radeberg vocational school center, Germany, March 2, 2021. (SEBASTIAN KAHNERT / DPA VIA AP)
Germany’s vaccine regulator should recommend within days that the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine can be given to people older than 65 as evidence mounts of its efficacy, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Wednesday.
Data from Britain show that the jab works “very well” in older people, Spahn told German television, adding that he had asked the regulator to adjust its recommendation accordingly so the vaccine can be rolled out quickly to those over 65.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel faced growing pressure to set out a clear roadmap to reopening German society from months of pandemic lockdown, with Finance Minister Olaf Scholz joining the chorus of voices saying existing plans did not go far enough.
Draft plans, seen by Reuters, show ministers are planning to ease some restrictions beginning next week, a cautious approach that is likely to disappoint parents of school-age children and many business groups in Europe’s largest economy.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was in favor of a slight opening, but sources said she wants to build an emergency handbrake into the reopening plan in case infections start to spike
The draft plans state that, starting from March 8 a maximum of five people from two households, excluding children younger than 14, will be allowed to meet, up from a maximum of two people under current rules.
Flower shops and book stores, garden centers, tattoo and nail parlors as well as massage salons will also be allowed to reopen on March 8, according to the draft. Hairdressers and some schools have reopened in recent days.
Death rates and numbers of patients in intensive care have been declining since January. But the easing will be tentative as new daily cases have begun creeping up again in recent days and the pace of vaccination has been sluggish.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 9,019 to 2,460,030, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday. The reported death toll rose by 418 to 70,881.
Almost 2.16 million people have received the second jab as of Monday, bringing the country's vaccination rate to 2.6 percent, the RKI said Tuesday.
Merkel told a meeting of her Christian Democrats (CDU) that she was in favor of a slight opening. However, Merkel said that she wants to build an emergency handbrake into the plan in case infections start to spike, noting that about half of new cases are currently caused by more infectious virus variants, sources said.
Meanwhile, Scholz called for more testing and vaccination to help speed the reopening process.
Armin Laschet, premier of Germany’s largest state and CDU leader, said it should be possible to ease the rules based on a strategy of more testing for COVID-19 and faster vaccinations.
Germany plans to use tests in schools and is also considering making companies offer them to office staff, according to a proposal up for consideration on Wednesday, when Merkel is due to debate easing options with the 16 state government heads.
Italy’s government has expanded restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus as the country faces a surge in cases.
The measures are the first approved by Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s new administration. They’ll take effect starting March 6 and remain in place until April 6, and include an extension to travel restrictions between regions as well as to a nighttime curfew, said Health Minister Roberto Speranza on Tuesday during a press conference in Rome.
“The English strain of the virus is now the dominant one in Italy,” Speranza said. The Brazilian and South African strains are also beginning to take hold.
The government will continue to implement a three-tier system that classifies regions by low, medium and high-risk based on the number of cases.
Italy reported 17,083 cases Tuesday, the second-biggest increase since mid-January. There were 222 new patients admitted to intensive care, the most this year, bringing total ICU patients to 2,327. While that’s below last year’s high of more than 4,000, the Health Ministry’s Agenas agency forecast that some regions will already reach a peak in the next few days.
Merck & Co. is preparing to launch a fresh clinical trial of an experimental COVID-19 treatment gained in a November deal after US regulators said results from a small study weren’t sufficient to seek clearance.
The drugmaker will start a late-stage trial of MK-7110, a therapy for severely ill COVID-19 patients, to address the concerns brought forth by the Food and Drug Administration, said Nick Kartsonis, senior vice-president of clinical research for infectious diseases and vaccines at Merck Research Laboratories.
The additional work will put Merck months away from potentially filing for emergency clearance and bringing the therapy to patients. The company hopes to generate the needed data before the end of the year.
The UK will receive 10 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses made by the Serum Institute of India (SII), the UK government said in a statement on Tuesday.
The government said the agreement follows assurances from the SII that providing doses to the UK would not impact its commitment to provide vaccines to poorer countries.
Britain has been ahead at inoculating people, with nearly 20.5 million residents receiving the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine so far, according to official data.
The government reported 6,391 new cases and 343 additional deaths on Tuesday, bringing the tally to 4,188,400 and the toll to 123,296, according to the data.
Coronavirus related deaths in England and Wales are falling fastest among those aged 80 and over thanks to the vaccine rollout in Britain, statistics from the British Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed.
Meanwhile, the search for an unidentified person who tested positive for a Brazilian coronavirus variant has narrowed to 379 households in the south of England as the government tries to stop its further spread.
Elsewhere, the Northern Ireland Executive has agreed a five-step plan for easing the coronavirus lockdown, local media reported Tuesday.
Under step one, which is the current restrictions in place in the British region, contact is limited to own household and support bubble while up to six from two households can meet outdoors not at a private dwelling, according to the BBC, which has seen the details of the plan.
In another development, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that more school children will return to full-time education from March 15, including all those attending primary school, and aims to have all pupils back at school after the Easter holidays. Sturgeon also said her government may consider an accelerated easing of the country’s lockdown.
The Solidarity Fund, set up to mobilize money to help South Africa fight the COVID-19 pandemic, plans to spend 500 million rand (US$33 million) to boost the country’s vaccine-rollout program.
The fund will use 250 million rand from its own account and an equal amount raised from donors, Chief Executive Officer Tandi Nzimande said in an emailed response to questions on Tuesday.
Mexico’s health ministry on Tuesday reported 7,913 new infections with the novel coronavirus and 1,035 more associated fatalities, bringing the country’s total number of confirmed cases to 2,097,194 and the death toll to 187,187.
The health ministry has previously said the real number of cases and deaths are likely significantly higher.
France reported 22,857 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, sharply up from 4,703 on Monday, as the government mulls further measures to limit the pandemic.
French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Tuesday that all options remained on the table to rein in the COVID-19 pandemic, including the possibility of a new national lockdown and regional weekend lockdowns.
The health ministry said the number of people being treated in intensive care units (ICUs) for COVID-19 had risen by 42 to 3,586.
There were 417 newly reported COVID-19 deaths, taking the total to 87,220. The country has reported a total of 3,783,528 confirmed infections.
As of Saturday, 4.55 million people had received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The country has used only a quarter of its AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses, a health ministry official indicated Tuesday, saying its utilization rate stood at 24 percent as of Feb 28, well below a target set at 80-85 percent.
This compares with 82 percent for vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and 37 percent for those made by Moderna.
The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) said on Tuesday that it has halted a trial of convalescent blood plasma in the treatment of patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 symptoms as it was unlikely to benefit this group.
The NIH said its decision was based on the findings of an independent data monitoring board.
The health agency’s move comes less than two months after an international trial of convalescent plasma was halted as no benefit was found. Other studies conducted in India and Argentina have also found no apparent benefit for those severely ill with the disease.
US President Joe Biden on Tuesday called for states to give all teachers and child-care workers at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by the end of the month in a fresh drive to re-open schools, and said there will be enough shots for American adults by the end of May, up from July.
Biden also announced that Merck & Co Inc would help make rival Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine, a partnership similar to those seen during World War II.
Biden said he was upbeat about reaching his goal of delivering 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in his first 100 days in office, but urged Americans to remain vigilant in wearing masks and observing social distancing. The president said he hopes the US would be back to normal “by this time next year”.
Biden’s administration will allocate 15.2 million doses next week for shipment to states, up from 14.5 million allocated this week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
In another development, Texas Governor Greg Abbott lifted the mask mandate and other anti-pandemic restrictions, defying warnings from health officials about the perils of dropping those precautions too soon. Effective March 10, all businesses will be allowed to open at full capacity, Abbott said.
Separately, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has halted a clinical trial evaluating the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 convalescent plasma in treating emergency department patients who developed mild to moderate symptoms.
An independent data and safety monitoring board met for the second planned interim analysis of the trial data, and determined that while the convalescent plasma intervention caused no harm, it was unlikely to benefit this group of patients, according to a NIH release.
The US has reported 28.7 million cases and more than 516,000 deaths so far, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
About 3.17 million children in the country have been infected, according to a latest report of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children's Hospital Association.
Ireland reported the fewest new COVID-19 cases since December, in a latest sign that the virus there is easing.
There were 359 newly confirmed cases, the health ministry said. That’s the least since Dec 15.
The drop is welcome, deputy chief medical officer Ronan Glynn said, although he warned it may be attributable to a so-called “weekend effect.”
The country also reported 14 more deaths.
Dutch police on Wednesday said a coronavirus testing centre north of Amsterdam appeared to have been intentionally targeted after an explosion went off at the facility before it opened.
The blast in the town of Bovenkarspel, 55 km north of the capital, shattered windows but caused no injuries, police from the province of North Holland said in a statement.
They said they had cordoned off the area to investigate. The incident comes shortly before national elections on March 17 widely seen as a referendum on the government’s handling of the pandemic. Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative VVD Party is likely to remain the largest, according to opinion polls.
The metal remains of the explosive, about 10 cm by 10 cm in size, were found on the front of the building and “must have been placed” there, police spokesman Menno Hartenberg told Reuters.
The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose for a third consecutive week in the Netherlands, though the tally remains below peak levels. In the week ended March 2, 31,984 people with COVID-19 were confirmed, up from 29,977, health agency RIVM said. The number of fatalities fell.
Meanwhile, bar owners are among businesses calling for less-strict lockdown rules. Two establishments in Amsterdam and the city of Breda in the south of the country briefly reopened outdoor seating areas on Tuesday in protest, defying nationwide rules, according to local media reports.
Switzerland is considering allowing COVID-19 self testing, according to the Federal Office of Public Health. Director Anne Levy said it would require a change to the law, and some issues related to test effectiveness would need to be sorted out.
Switzerland has now vaccinated a quarter of people at risk, according to local authorities.
In another development, researchers in Switzerland have launched a training trial to see if sniffer dog can find out people infected with COVID-19.
The study, which is a collaboration among Geneva University Hospitals, the largest university hospitals in Switzerland, and the Swiss Army and United Nations Department of Safetly and Security, is expected to have a final result by March.
A man wearing a face mask stands in line for a bus on the first day of a two-week-long lockdown imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Brasilia, Brazil, March 1, 2021. (ERALDO PERES / AP)
Brazil reported a record daily number of COVID-19 deaths as a resurgence of the virus fills up hospital beds and pushes local governments to call for more drastic measures to contain contagion.
The health ministry reported 1,641 people died from the disease in the last 24 hours, along with 59,925 new infections.
Brazil is among the hardest-hit countries globally, with 10,646,926 confirmed cases and 257,361 deaths from COVID-19.
About 20 states have more than 80 percent of ICU beds filled, leading the National Council of Health Secretaries to call for tough measures including a national curfew and closure of airports to avoid a collapse of public and private healthcare systems networks.
A highly transmissible COVID-19 variant that emerged in Brazil and has now been found in at least 20 countries can re-infect people who previously recovered from the disease, scientists said on Tuesday.
The scientists estimated that P.1 was 1.4 to 2.2 times more transmissible than the initial form of the virus.
Vice-President Hamilton Mourao spoke against a national lockdown, saying Brazil should speed up its vaccination program. Data from local governments show the country, home to 210 million people, has deployed 9,157,708 shots so far.
Zambia is set to recruit 395 health workers to reduce the burden on the workforce worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, a government official said Tuesday.
Minister of Health Jonas Chanda said President Edgar Lungu has authorized the recruitment of more health workers as part of the COVID-19 response.
"The epidemiology of the COVID-19 has contributed to an unprecedented increase in the demands on the healthcare workforce, and simultaneously diminished health worker supply," he said in a release.
Zambia recorded 555 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the cumulative caseload to 79,557.
During the same period, the country recorded six more deaths, bringing the toll to 1,104.
As intensive care units across Sweden are once again being filled with COVID-19 patients, the country's Public Health Agency warned that the third coronavirus wave appears to be imminent.
"It really looks like we are heading for a third wave," state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said at a press conference, adding that the mutated variant that was first discovered in Britain could make a new wave of infection "quite extensive".
"I think we may also face a critical situation in the autumn, especially if we have not managed to reach enough people with vaccination," Tegnell warned.
As of Tuesday, around 43 percent of the country's total intensive care capacity was taken up by COVID-19 patients.
More than half of the country's regions had less than 20 percent spare capacity.
By Tuesday, Sweden has reported 12,882 deaths and more than 669,000 confirmed cases.
Morocco's COVID-19 tally rose to 484,159 on Tuesday as 393 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours.
The death toll hit 8,654 as eight COVID-19 patients died in the last 24 hours, according to a statement by the Ministry of Health.
The total number of recoveries totalled 469,868 after 523 new ones were added, the ministry said, adding that there were 386 patients in intensive care units.
Algeria on Tuesday reported 175 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of infections in the North African country to 122,430.
The death toll rose to 2,991 after four more fatalities were added, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.
Meanwhile, another 143 patients ahve recovered from the disease, bringing the total number of recoveries in the country to 78,437, according to the statement.
Health Minister Abderrahmane Benbouzid announced on Tuesday that the country will receive hundreds of thousands of doses of COVID-19 vaccines in March, the official APS news agency reported.
Ecuador on Tuesday reported 358 new COVID-19 cases and 17 more deaths, raising the total caseload to 286,725 and the death toll to 11,095.
According to the health ministry, 247,898 people, or 86.63 percent, of the total number of confirmed cases nationwide have recovered from the disease.
The actual death toll, it added, could be closer to 16,000 as another 4,755 deaths are suspected of being COVID-19 related but have not been verified.
Community transmission of the virus continued to be reported in all 24 provinces of the country, where over 35,000 healthcare workers and older adults at care homes have been vaccinated so far.
Mass vaccinations is expected to begin in April, depending on the international supply of vaccines.
Lithuania's Chief of Defense Lieutenant General Valdemaras Rupsys has tested positive for COVID-19, local media reported on Tuesday.
Rupsys was reported to have been in self-quarantine since the end of last week after it was determined that he had been in contact with an infected person.
According to the army, he is now feeling well and is expected to return to work in 10 days. Several officers who are close to him are in self-quarantine now and will be tested as well.
On Tuesday, Lithuania reported 426 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the tally to 199,825. A total of 3,263 people in the country have so far died from the virus.
A health worker vaccinates a man against COVID-19 during a mass vaccination campaign in the Spanish Basque region at the former bullring of Donostia Arena in San Sebastian on March 2, 2021. (ANDER GILLENEA / AFP)
Spain revised downwards its tally of coronavirus cases on Tuesday after eliminating those registered twice in the region of Catalonia and its health ministry said the rate of infection had also fallen.
Health ministry data said the new cumulative total was 3,130,184, down 74,347 cases versus Monday and the two-week incidence of the virus fell to 168 per 100,000 people from 176 the day before.
Even with the downward revision, the data showed 4,500 newly-registered infections across Spain and the death toll from the virus rose by 192 from Monday to 69,801.
Canada is seeing a moderate increase of COVID-19 cases, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada on Tuesday.
"There are now 30,430 active cases across the country. Over the past week, an average of 2,933 new cases and 42 deaths were reported daily," Theresa Tam, Canadian chief public health officer, said in a statement.
"At the same time, the number of cases involving more contagious variants of concern continues to increase. As of March 1st, a total of 1,257 B.1.1.7 variants, 99 B.1.351 variants and three P.1 variants have been reported across Canada," she said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Canada reported a cumulative total of 871,795 COVID-19 cases and 22,041 deaths, according to CTV.
More than 1,999,147 doses of vaccines have been administered across Canada, with over 1.45 million Canadians havingreceived at least one jab.
The Albanian government is working on creating a COVID-19 vaccine passport in case other countries impose its use as a requirement, Prime Minister Edi Rama declared on Tuesday.
"Albania is interested in having its doors open for the tourist season and in order to break the chain of infections it will not rely on a lockdown, but on the vaccines," Rama said.
Albania received 15,210 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Monday evening.
According to Rama, another batch of 30,000 doses is expected to arrive in April, including 14,000 doses from AstraZeneca via the COVAX mechanism.
Albania's health ministry on Tuesday reported 892 new cases and 19 COVID-19-related deaths, taking the tally to 108,823, along with 71,173 recoveries and 1,835 fatalities.
The Republic of Moldova kicked off its COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Tuesday, with frontline medical staff being vaccinated first.
As many as 751 medical employees were immunized on the first day of the vaccination campaign, according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection.
Moldova has reported 187,847 confirmed cases and 4,002 deaths, according to the latest data from the health ministry.
Russia reported 10,535 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, including 1,284 in Moscow, taking the national tally to 4,278,750.
Authorities said 452 people had died in the last 24 hours, taking the official death toll to 87,348.
Senegalese Minister of Health and Social Action Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, the first person inoculated with China's Sinopharm vaccine in Senegal, said Tuesday that he is doing well after taking the jab on Feb 23.
"I am doing well and I hope that immunity is setting in. In a couple of weeks, we will take the second dose," he said, assuring that the second dose will be guaranteed to all those that have been inoculated with the first dose.
Speaking to the 20H Journal on Senegalese public television RTS, the minister said that Senegal is the fourth African country in terms of inoculation number during the campaign of vaccination against COVID-19, thanks to the first batch of vaccines provided by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm.
"We have vaccinated more than 35,000 Senegalese," said the minister, adding that the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 in the country may reach around 40,000 as of Wednesday.
He also confirmed that his country will receive 324,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines via COVAX on Wednesday.
Senega has so far recorded 34,832 confirmed cases, including 29,402 recoveries and 888 deaths.
Ethiopia registered 841 new COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours, taking the tally to 160,813, the health ministry said on Tuesday.
The ministry said 13 additional deaths were recorded in the same period, bringing the death toll to 2,386.
The total number of recoveries rose by 902 to 136,079.
More than 3.5 million people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in Chile, almost a month after the start of a mass inoculation campaign, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.
It said in a communique that a total of 3,512,326 people have been vaccinated, of whom 2,259,013 over the age of 60.
Vaccination is progressing according to plan, Minister of Health Enrique Paris said Tuesday, adding that "we will continue this process in order to inoculate priority groups by the end of March."
Chile has reported a total of 832,512 confirmed cases, along with 20,684 deaths, according to the ministry.
Angola rolled out its mass vaccination against COVID-19 on Tuesday, with a 71-year-old nurse receiving the first jab.
Angola received 624,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on Tuesday under the COVAX initiative.
With those vaccines, Angola kicked off its first phase of vaccinations with priority given to patients with comorbidity, teachers, health professionals, the elderly and other vulnerable groups, according to the Ministry of Health.
The southern African country plans to vaccinate 53 percent of its population against COVID-19 in two phases, Minister of Health Silvia Lutucuta said this week.
A record number of Ukrainians were taken to hospital with coronavirus over the past 24 hours while the quantity of lethal cases remain consistently high, health ministry data show on Wednesday.
Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said on Facebook 3,486 people were hospitalised in the past day, the highest number since the epidemic hit the country of 41 million last year.
The number of hospitalisations did not exceed 2,000 during the peak of the epidemic in late 2020, but began to rise in late winter during the second wave of the epidemic.
Stepanov said 7,235 new cases were registered over the past 24 hours with 185 deaths. Ukraine has reported 1,364,705 coronavirus cases and 26,397 deaths so far.
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